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IN THE HEART OF THE BIRCH BUSH. I (Contributed). , We settled ourselves comfortably on ' the timber-trolley, the engine puffing *' importantly, gather speed, and we were off on our journey into the bush. It [was a sunny day, with a fresh ,wind blowing, as we rattled along the iron-railed tramway, past settlers’ homes, ploughed fields, and grass paddocks, manuka scrub and tussocky ridges —past cattle that watched us for a moment, then went on with their serious business of eating, while at times a startled rabbit scurried to its burrow.

Now wo are travelling along the river flats with the Pourakino river •quite close, and the Longwood and Takitimo ranges overlooking us from the distance. We soon reach the bush and are shut in by tall birch trees and a tangle of smaller shrubs. The wind has ceased. There isi nothing but trees and more trees, bush and more bush. A bell-bird calls from the silent bush occasionally, but we hear mostly our fussy little black friend, the engine. We begin to feel miles away from anywhere. Presently we pass some men repairihg the tramway., Re-assured, we look ahead, and there, gleaming through the trees is the iroa roof of the mill. Everythihig is silent and deserted. We have arrived during the dinner hour, but it is near starting lime again, and the men appear from nowhere, it would seem, and we find ourselves gazed at with interest, visitors being something of a rarity. There goes the whistle—everyone rushes away to [work. After dinner, our friend shows ns how a log is turned into timber. First it goes to the breaking-down bench, where the saws go humming through it, cutting it in pieces small enough for the sawyer to handle. He cuts these pieces into boards at another saw, and I don’t know yet how he makes the boards so straight and long and thin, though I watched him quite a long while. The planingmachine was even more ski-prising. A rough board was put in—then whizz-whir-r-r-r —and out it came tongued and grooved. There is quite a little settlement gathered about each mill—men and women doing their useful work away in the bush. One wonders why the wooden chimneys of the houses don’t burn down, and I’m not sure yet why they don't. Reluctantly we climb on to a loaded trolley for the return journey. Birch trees keep guard all along the tramway, and spread their branches high above our heads. The bright green leaves of the mistletoe showed in clusters against the dark birch trunks. Brown, fern-edged creeks wander in and out amongst the trees. ■We rattle along and arc soon out of the bush, and our two hours’ journey from the mill is nearly ended. The timber yard is at Longwood railway station, which is quite a flourishing little place now, thanks to the busy mills away back in the birch country.-

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Bibliographic details

Sketcher., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

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Sketcher. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

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